Wednesday, October 21, 2015

“Look, moon I turned silver for you.” ― Sanober Khan The Glorious Graying of Me

I was chatting with an old friend recently when, suddenly, she uttered a single sentence that changed my life: “Looks like you’re getting some gray hair,” she said as she pulled at my “sideburns.”
“Really?” I squealed with excitement! I was ecstatic! A milestone had been reached!
I clearly started life as a buttery blonde
Admittedly, I’m weird. I still recall how ebulliently I reacted when, at the age of 42, I was told by my optometrist that I would need progressive lenses for my glasses. In fact, I uttered the same word, with the same excitement: “Really?” I then added, “This makes me a real adult!” (Note: that was also the visit to the optometrist when, a little annoyed at having to fill out the contact information page once again, on the line where it asked, “preferred name” I wrote Bunny. I would like to point out that neither at that particular visit to the eye doc, nor on any subsequent visit, was I ever called Bunny; this clearly shows the futility of filling out that form.)
1976. Still blonde
Back to the gray hair sighting. Full disclosure: I get my hair highlighted twice a year. It’s never been to cover up gray but rather to add some vitality to the increasingly dish watery color of my blonde hair.
I was hoodwinked. There is no other explanation. As a child, I had that white tow-headed look, hinting at my Norwegian ancestry 
(though my Nordic dad was dark and swarthy) but the older I got, the darker my hair got. It's not that dark hair is bad, it's just that mine seemed to lose its luster as the buttery hues of blonde slipped away.
My son, Sam, is suffering a similar fate: his tow-headed look has gotten increasingly darker as the years have gone by. At least his hair is luxuriously thick and still has depth that my fine, thin hair can never attain.
By senior prom, 1980, it was all over.
So for the past several years I have gotten my hair high-lighted and each time my hair interpreter triumphantly proclaims, “still no gray hair!” I’ve always been a little crestfallen at this pronouncement meant as a compliment.
I have always loved hair in permutations of the gray scale: salt and pepper, gray, white, silver. In fact, when I look back on the women I’ve dated, or been attracted to, over the past 37 years, I find no “type” in terms of age, race, body type, femme or butch; I seem to have dated across the spectrum. There is, however, one commonality that appears throughout the years: I’m clearly attracted to women with gray, silver, white, mixed hair.
I think this is because I must have imprinted on the first woman I fell truly in love with.  At the age of 22 she had jet black hair with lightning bolts of silver thrumming through it. Although the love was unrequited, my fate, it seemed, was sealed.
Sam clearly blonde a age 6
I have never dreaded the graying of me; rather I have eagerly awaited its advent. Now, finally, at the ripe age of 53, I am able to proudly join the ranks of the Gray! What does this mean, I wondered as I drove home from my friend’s house. I prodded my mind like a loose tooth;was I any wiser? I gently palpated my heart from within;did I understand more about love and compassion?
Maybe those things take time. Or maybe graying hair is a function of age, while not necessarily being a harbinger of wisdom. 
Already much darker, and he's still young!
Still, I couldn’t help but feel a frisson of excitement as I looked at my hair in the bathroom mirror and asked another friend to take a picture of this august moment in time. The next week, when I went for my quarterly haircut, semi-annual high-lighting session, Jerome, my hair interpreter, said “Still no gray hair!” as he wrapped my hair in foil.

“Yes, there is!” I said happily as I showed him my sideburns. I felt inordinately proud, as if I had done something that had taken infinite skill or herculean strength, rather than simply growing older. Still, I did earn every one of those gray hairs—and all the ones to come. Now I really am an adult!

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